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How to Plan a Trip to Thailand: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: August 8, 2022

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Ko Phak Bia in the Krabi Province of Thailand, with limestone karsts, white beaches and clear water,popular for snorkeling

Ko Phak Bia in the Krabi Province of Thailand

Spend time on the beaches of Thailand, explore the Andaman Islands, or discover Chiang Mai culture as we help you navigate the Land of Smiles.

You can take advantage of great weather in Thailand when winter strikes the northern hemisphere. Whether you want to experience the romance of a honeymoon or discover local culture as a family, this guide covers our top travel tips.

We share the best time to visit Thailand, the best activities for your vacation, and more to take the stress out of designing your itinerary.

Overview

  1. Can I travel to Thailand?
  2. When is the best time to visit Thailand?
  3. How many days should I spend in Thailand?
  4. What are the most popular destinations in Thailand?
  5. What should I do on my trip to Thailand?
  6. Are there any cultural festivals in Thailand?
  7. What are the most popular islands to visit in Thailand?
  8. How do I travel around Thailand?
  9. Is Thailand a good destination for families?
  10. Is Thailand suitable for senior travelers?
  11. Is Thailand suitable for couples or honeymooners?
  12. What food should I try in Thailand?
  13. Is Thailand safe to visit?
  14. What should I not do in Thailand?
  15. What language do they speak in Thailand?
  16. What vaccinations do I need to travel to Thailand?
  17. Which airports should I plan for?
  18. Do I need a visa for Thailand?
  19. What currency does Thailand use?
  20. How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Thailand?
  21. Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Can I travel to Thailand?

Restrictions on entering Thailand have been lifted, so Americans can travel to the country on vacation. While entry requirements can change at the Thai government’s discretion, your Zicasso travel specialist can share updates on these and insight into traveling to Thailand when you start planning your trip.

Most of the world is open to American travelers, with slight differences in requirements depending on where you go. You can learn more about this in our guide on Where Americans Can Travel Right Now.

Learn more: Plan Your Trip to Thailand

When is the best time to visit Thailand?

The best time to visit Thailand is November through March, the country’s dry season, when you will avoid the heavy rainfall and unpredictable conditions of the wet season. This will allow you to experience the best of Thailand’s islands, beaches, and jungles.

The dry season is also the busiest time in the country. Travelers flock to the islands for the December holiday season, crowding beaches and causing travel rates to soar. Therefore, we recommend planning a trip in January, February, or March if you want to avoid the crowds, but still take advantage of the picture-perfect weather.

As you plan your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist, you can further narrow down the time of your vacation, according to your preferences, whether a honeymoon or family getaway.

Learn more: Best Time to Visit Thailand

How many days should I spend in Thailand?

You should spend 10 to 14 days in Thailand, giving yourself or your group enough time to experience the top things to do, with a day or two at leisure.

Thailand covers a large part of Southeast Asia, with several archipelagos off the coast. There are many ways to experience the country, from cultural tours of major cities to beach vacations on the islands. Therefore, 10 to 14 days provides the time necessary to visit highlights like Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai. You can also explore the Andaman archipelagos from Phuket.

It is possible to experience the best of Thailand on a seven- or eight-day trip with fewer days at leisure on an island with private experiences. Alternatively, you can spend up to three weeks discovering every corner of the Land of Smiles, with options to visit other parts of Southeast Asia on a multi-country trip.

Learn more: 10 Day Thailand Itineraries12 Day Thailand Itineraries2 Week Thailand Itineraries

What are the most popular destinations in Thailand?

From the bustling city of Bangkok to the island paradise of Phuket, here are the most popular destinations to visit in Thailand:

  • Bangkok
  • Phuket
  • Chiang Mai
  • Krabi
  • Koh Samui
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Koh Phangan

The country’s top destinations offer plenty to explore, such as the vibrant street markets of Bangkok, the cultural villages surrounding Chiang Mai, and the islands off the coast of Phuket. You can discover more about each destination in our guide on the 8 Best Places to Visit in Thailand.

What should I do on my trip to Thailand?

The best experiences range from cultural tours of rural villages to snorkeling and time on postcard-perfect beaches. This list covers the top things to do:

  • Tour Bangkok’s grand temples and spiritual complexes, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Arun, and Wat Saket
  • Take a day trip or cruise along the Chao Phraya River to Ayutthaya for a history tour of the heritage site’s archeological ruins
  • Island hop along the Andaman Sea from Phuket to tropical paradises like Koh Phi Phi and the Similan Islands to snorkel in vibrant coral reefs
  • Indulge in the authentic flavors of Chiang Mai and northern Thailand with a traditional cooking course highlighting local and seasonal ingredients
  • Embrace the hills around Chiang Mai on trails leading through evergreen forest, over rice terraces, and beside Karen hill tribe villages
  • Venture to the authentic Rawai Village on the east coast, where the Moken retain their semi-nomadic lifestyle among coconut palms and swamp oaks
  • Experience an exclusive safari among evergreen trees and lush grasses when searching for wild elephants during an immersive tour in Khao Yai National Park
  • Bask in the natural beauty of coastal Krabi with exciting and breathtaking kayak excursions in caves, around karsts, or in unseen lagoons

This list shares several memorable experiences and our guide on the Top 8 Things to Do in Thailand provides more detail about what to expect from these activities and tours.

Are there any cultural festivals in Thailand?

Thai culture blends influences from across Southeast Asia and the heritage of centuries of tribal civilizations, with cultural festivals respecting ancient traditions. The list below highlights the most popular cultural festivals:

  • Yee Peng (12th month of the Thai Lunar Calendar, typically in November) - Thailand’s festival of lanterns, where candle-lit lanterns float into the night sky
  • Loy Krathong (12th month of the Thai Lunar Calendar, typically in November) - Thailand’s festival of light, where candle-lit lotus baskets float across rivers and lakes
  • Songkran (13th - 15th April) - Thailand’s New Year holiday, when locals and travelers spray each other with water

What are the most popular islands to visit in Thailand?

Breathtaking beaches, coastal resorts, jungle-clad hills, and impressive karst formations are a few highlights of Thailand’s most popular islands. This list suggests the nine you should consider for your trip:

  • Koh Phayam
  • Koh Yao Islands
  • Koh Tao
  • Phuket
  • Koh Lanta
  • Koh Phi Phi
  • Koh Chang
  • Koh Similan
  • Koh Muk

With so many Thai islands to choose from, our 9 Best Islands to Visit in Thailand provides more information on each of these so you can find the perfect tropical paradise.

How do I travel around Thailand?

The most popular ways to travel around Thailand are by plane, train, private transfer, and boat.

Planes are great options for transfers between major cities or islands, such as Bangkok to Chiang Mai or Phuket. In addition, trains offer an alternative mode of transportation for day trips across the countryside, popularly taken from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. Private transfers are the most comfortable option for touring the cities or short-distance trips between cities, and boats, such as ferries and speed boats, are the best way to travel to the Thai islands.

The tuk-tuk, a three-wheeled open-air vehicle, is an alternative way to travel around Thailand’s cities and islands. The tuk-tuk is indigenous to Southeast Asia and offers a local experience for adventurous travelers.

Learn more: The Best Ways to Travel Around Thailand

Is Thailand a good destination for families?

Thailand is a great place for families. The country and its islands boast family-friendly beaches and coral reefs teeming with marine life, temples dressed in jewels and gold, and hiking or zip-lining tours through jungles.

You and your children can play with elephants at sanctuaries that protect the gentle giants, snorkel with schools of fish, and satisfy your sweet tooth with a bowl of mango sticky rice. Family activities are suitable for all ages and invite you to discover the local culture and endless beauty of the Land of Smiles.

Is Thailand suitable for senior travelers?

Thailand is a safe country to visit and the local culture is fascinating, making it a perfect place to travel as a senior citizen. The laid-back atmosphere invites senior travelers to slow down and absorb the multicultural influences of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, or the pristine beaches of Phuket and Krabi.

Tours of temples are as insightful as they are cinematic, letting you explore centuries of Southeast Asian architecture and Theravada Buddhist traditions. Glamorous resorts overlooking private beaches offer a peaceful retreat from the busy streets and tours of hill-tribe communities offer complete cultural immersion.

On your trip, helpful guides share their knowledge of the country and its people, and ensure you have comfortable tours with private transfers. In addition, your Zicasso travel specialist is available should you require urgent assistance or changes to your itinerary on all of our Thailand Tours for Seniors.

Is Thailand suitable for couples or honeymooners?

Thailand remains top of the travel bucket list for couples and honeymooners. Great rates make booking five-star resorts on private beaches a breeze and the islands present romantic backdrops for strolls and sunset cruises.

Simplicity is a cornerstone of rural Thai culture and an intimate tour of Chiang Mai's villages is a tranquil and spiritual experience. Thai massages are also great for couples and honeymooners, with treatments in bungalows overlooking the sea.

You can also indulge in gourmet Thai cuisine during candle-lit dinners on private beaches or set sail on a catamaran across the shimmering waters, on sample trips from our Thailand Honeymoon Packages.

Learn more: 9 Most Romantic Places in Thailand for Couples

What food should I try in Thailand?

Thai cuisine is an explosion of flavors, with indigenous ingredients and Southeast Asian spices dominating the best dishes to eat on your trip. Here is a list of the most popular foods to try:

  • Pad Thai, a stir-fried rice noodle dish
  • Tom Yum Goong, hot and sour soup
  • Som Tam, a spicy papaya salad
  • Yam Pla Duk Foo, crispy fried catfish with a mango salad
  • Khao Pad, Fried rice
  • Pad Krapow, Basil chicken
  • Mango sticky rice
  • Panang curry, Red curry
  • Gaeng Keow Wan, Green curry
  • Kai Jeow, Omelet

From street-food stalls to gourmet restaurants and cooking classes, you can explore Thai cuisine on culinary adventures across the country. Be advised that certain Thai food is spicy, so you may need to ask about the dishes' heat levels.

Is Thailand safe to visit?

Thailand is one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia. The locals are friendly, welcoming, and respect cultural customs such as saving face. Petty crimes like pickpocketing and scams can occur, as with anywhere in the world, so it is best to be aware of your surroundings and conceal your valuables when visiting busy places.

The weather, particularly during the monsoon season, can be unpredictable and the country has a history of tsunamis. Therefore, we recommend traveling during the dry season for peace of mind and taking shelter during heavy downpours if you visit during the monsoon season.

Food and water safety should not be a major concern, though we recommend only drinking bottled water and observing the hygiene of the food stalls you visit.

What should I not do in Thailand?

Thailand’s cultural traditions trace centuries and these dictate cultural etiquette. Therefore, there are several things you should not do. We highlight them below:

  • Do not touch anyone’s head as tradition regards the head as the holiest part of the body
  • Do not touch monks as they are highly respected and their religion forbids them from touching certain people
  • Do not do anything that may appear disrespectful to Buddha, such as buying Buddhist souvenirs
  • Do not wear clothing that reveals your shoulders or knees when entering temples
  • Do not ride elephants as this is an unethical tourist activity still conducted in certain sanctuaries

What language do they speak in Thailand?

Thailand’s official language is Thai.

Isan, Moken, Hmong, and dialects of Thai are also spoken, though mostly in rural villages. English is widely spoken, particularly in places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. Therefore, it should be relatively easy to communicate effectively. In cases where it is challenging, your guide can help translate.

What vaccinations do I need to travel to Thailand?

CDC Thailand Vaccination Information recommends travelers receive several vaccinations. You can use this information and advice from your Zicasso Thailand travel specialist as a guide for which ones to get.

Always consult your doctor or a travel nurse before receiving any vaccination.

Which airports should I plan for?

For most travelers, the most convenient airport to arrive at is Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok. Below, we list other popular alternatives:

  • Phuket International Airport (HKT), Phuket
  • Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX), Chiang Mai

Do I need a visa for Thailand?

American citizens do not need a visa for trips fewer than 30 days.

Your Zicasso Thailand travel specialist will provide additional visa information and any potential changes to legislation when you plan your trip.

What currency does Thailand use?

The official currency of Thailand is the Thai baht (฿).

You will need to travel with Thai baht as the currency is widely accepted across the country. Some modern establishments accept Visa and Mastercard payments. However, we recommend traveling with cash as you may need Thai baht when visiting rural villages.

How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Thailand?

Our Zicasso travel specialists have helped plan many trips to Thailand and you can browse sample itineraries in our Thailand Tours & Vacations collection.

You can find the right trip from this list, whether a short stay with stops in Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai, or a romantic honeymoon to the Andaman islands. Using these as inspiration, you can start creating your custom travel itinerary.

To start planning your itinerary, complete a Trip Request in which you can provide insight into the duration of your ideal vacation, the size of your travel party, and the ages of your travelers.

After providing additional ideas for our consideration and allocating a preferred travel budget, our Travel Care team will match you with a Thailand travel specialist who will help you plan for and embark on your trip.

Learn more: How to Plan Your Zicasso Trip in 4 Easy StepsHow to Plan Your Zicasso Trip Budget in 3 Easy Steps

Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Doi Ang Khang Tea Farm, Chiang Mai

Doi Ang Khang Tea Farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Whether you are planning a honeymoon or taking your family on vacation to the Land of Smiles, our collection of sample itineraries in our Thailand Tours & Vacations offers plenty of ideas. Here you will find highlight tours of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, culinary adventures to Thailand’s best food destinations, and beach vacations on the islands.

To discover more about Thailand, from the best time to visit for specific experiences to the most romantic places in the country, view our Thailand Travel Guide.

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